Tag Archives: novels

Author, screenwriter or simply mad writer?

writing, screenwriting, author, screenwriter, publishingI recently made the comment that the difference between being an author and being a screenwriter is the same as the difference between an immaculate conception and an egg donation.

This seemed to cause some confusion in certain circles although as someone who writes both novels and scripts, it seems to me to be a totally accurate statement. Therefore, what follows is a slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to the essential difference between the creative processes involved in what are after all, two very different writing disciplines. 

As an author, when you write a novel, it is your baby. You sit, plot, write, edit, rewrite, edit again and then when you’re happy, you send it off to one or two trusted mates for their comments.

Dependent on what they say, you will either rewrite or polish your manuscript and then take the plunge into the real world and send it off to either your agent or your publisher. This is the terrifying time for all authors as these will be the first people within the industry to see, and judge, your latest efforts.

In response to their comments, you’ll either do more polishing or more rewriting after which it’ll go off to a proper editor who will fix your appalling grammar. Only then will it head off in the direction of the actual production process and eventually, print (or internet). 

Yet from concept to shelf or kindle, the writer retains pretty much total creative control and as such, the finished article remains in essence, all your own work. Indeed, once it’s published the whole thing becomes about you and you alone. Have you ever seen a book publicised as ‘edited by….’? Of course not.

This is what I mean by immaculate conception. You’ve created something from nothing and now face the consequences. Be it praise or grief.

A screenplay is a  totally different animal because in terms of the creative process, you as the writer have very little power over what finally ends up on-screen. Yes, you might well come up with the initial concept and you will certainly put the initial layer of flesh on the bones but generally speaking, your place is and always will be on the bottom rung of a very long development ladder. Indeed, a script will go through so many rewrites it might as well be written in pencil and it’s certainly safe to say that by the time it gets to the point when a director calls ‘action’, the shooting script will be very different from your initial draft

There are of course, very specific reasons for this be they creative improvements the director has made or something as mundane as location, cast or budget. Yet however much it might irritate you as the writer, everything is underpinned by one very simple fact and that is that everyone involved in the process wants to get the best thing that they possibly can onto the screen. 

And that is the key difference. For unlike a novel, a script is a true collaboration and your pages are usually the starting point. Or to use my original statement, the egg.

You see, simple. 

There are of course, occasions when the two elements meet and an author ends up adapting their own novel for the screen as I did with Top Dog. Whilst an interesting experience, it was quite possibly the single most challenging thing I’ve done as a writer and whilst I learned a lot, it’s not something I would advise an author to do unless they have either a very thick skin, a good therapist or access to a shotgun.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

beer, lads, women, men, relationships, sex, love, romance, author, screenwriting, ebooks, self publishing, indie film, football

 

Are you an author, a screenwriter or simply a writer?

writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerYesterday, I made a comment that the difference between being an author and being a screenwriter is the same as the difference between an immaculate conception and an egg donation.

Now as someone who writes both novels and scripts, this is a fairly obvious and totally accurate statement yet for some reason it seemed to cause confusion in certain writing circles and it struck me that it might be worthwhile expanding on it a bit. So what follows is a slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to the essential difference between the creative processes involved with the two very different disciplines. 

As an author, when you write a novel, it is your baby. You sit, plot, write, edit, rewrite, edit again and then when you’re happy, you send it off to a publisher who more often than not, will be the first person to read it.

They will then come back with some comments to which your response will be to either reluctantly agree or to tell them to get stuffed. You then do a bit of polishing, send it off to a proper editor who, amongst other things, will fix your appalling grammar and then when everyone is happy, it heads off to print. 

Yet from concept to shelf or kindle, as the writer you retain pretty much total creative control and as such, the finished article remains in essence, all your own work. From that point on, it’s all about you. Have you ever seen a book publicised as ‘edited by….’? Of course not. 

It’s you who do the PR and you who get the accolades or the grief. Hence the immaculate conception. 

A screenplay is totally different because in terms of the creative process, you as the writer have very little power over what finally ends up on screen. Yes, you might well come up with the initial concept and you will certainly put the initial layer of flesh on the bones but generally speaking, your place is and always will be on the bottom rung of a very long development ladder. Indeed, a script will go through so many rewrites it might as well be written in pencil and it’s certainly safe to say that by the time it gets to the point when a director calls ‘action’, the shooting script will be very different from your initial draft

There are of course, very specific reasons for this be they creative improvements the director has made or something as mundane as location, cast or budget. Yet however much it might irritate you as the writer, everything is underpinned by one very simple fact and that is that everyone involved in the process wants to get the best thing on screen that they possibly can. 

And that is the key difference. For unlike a novel, a script is a true collaboration and your pages are usually the starting point. Or to use my original statement, the egg.

You see, simple. 

This is of course, totally different if you write a novel and then adapt it for the screen as I have just done with Top Dog. But that’s an entirely different subject which I will no doubt end up talking about in therapy one day!

writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerMention of Top Dog leads me nicely into the latest news and that is that the release date for the DVD is 26th May. I’m also hoping that the novel will be reissued in print about the same time and that can be pre-ordered from Amazon but if you’re desperate, you can download it by clicking here.

There has been talk of a London premiere as well as some screenings and news of those will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as soon as the details are released.

Casting is currently underway on We Still Kill The Old Way with shooting due to start on May 5th. I’ve seen a provisional list and if even half of it comes off, it’ll be amazing!

Again, keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for details. 

Happy days indeed. 

 

top dog, green street, sothcott, gang, gangster, violence, british film, self publishing, ibooks, indie publishing, martin kemp, spandau ballet, elijah wood, hooligans, england, sex, racism, krays, pornography, london 

Watford FC: so close but thankfully so far.

watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street, premiership, englandOK, the dust has settled so my thoughts on yesterday and Watfords trip to Wembley for the richest game in football, for what they’re worth.

As a Watford fan, it pains me to say it but we didn’t turn up on the day, pure and simple. Anya, big Al and Lloyd Doyley (I know shock horror, praise from me!) are the obvious exceptions with the addition of Fess who should have been brought on at half-time, if not at the start.

Crystal Palace were average at best with the exception of Zaha who was different class. How many times did he take the piss out of our defence? Phillips… well you just knew he would do it but fair play, I wasn’t the only one to notice that he didn’t give it large in front of us as many would have.

The Palace fans were awesome, ours less so. Ok, much less so. Indeed, if yesterday highlighted one thing it’s the issue of our support and the lack of any cohesion. I know that there are plenty who have tried to sort it out but clearly, it has failed badly and so maybe it’s time for the club to actually step in and become directly involved with the fans to see what can be done. With so much good will toward the team and the owners, I think that we could potentially do something really creative if there was the will on both sides to actually do it so let’s use this moment to kick start some proper open dialogue. After all, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Wembley… amazing stadium but the transport situation away from the place is dire. Not simply because of the logistics but because the organisation is so poor and information so lacking.

But however down we feel today, it has been an amazing season and the journey from the horrific event that was the game against Wycombe to walking up Wembley way yesterday proves that being a Hornet is always going to be eventful and certainly never dull.

However, the truth is that we aren’t ready for the premiership yet -I think anyone with a brain in their head will acknowledge that- and the idea of a season being spanked week in week out is not one that held an appeal for me. And that’s how it would have almost certainly been. As I said, Zaha ran us ragged at times, imagine what 10 of him could do.

So it’s onwards and upwards and all eyes on the 13/14 season in the championship which arguably, is the best league anyway if you like your football in the blood and guts style as I do.

The loan situation and the forthcoming rule changes to that side of things is going to mean the close season will be eventful (aren’t they all for Watford?) but I have faith in the owners and in Zola & Co so I have no doubt we’ll be stronger as a consequence so then watch us go! Who knows, we might even finish our stadium!

Come on you Horns!

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

Thanks to everyone who has been posting reviews of my books lately. They really are hugely appreciated and extremely useful. On which note, thanks to a huge demand, I’m delighted to tell you that my most recent book, Wings of a Sparrow, will shortly be released in paper format.

I’ll post further details nearer publication date but this will be the first in a series of re-releases with The Crew and Top Dog following shortly after.

Why part of me hopes Watford don’t win promotion to the EPL.

football, watford, publishing, marketing, premiership, liverpool, manchester, arsenal, zola, pozzo,

I am, as many people will know, a Watford supporter. And as anyone who follows the great game will know, this coming weekend could well see my little club return to the promised land of the English premiership.

Quite how we are in this position is well documented and will certainly be dissected at length over the coming few days but to say we are not the most popular club in the land would be something of an understatement. We of course, don’t care what people think of us as we’ve been far too busy enjoying the ride and watching football which has veered from being some of the best I’ve ever seen Watford play to a quality which would not look out of place on Hackney marshes. On at least one instance, we saw both within the space of 90 minutes.

But that’s the joy of football and not only explains why we love it, but why so many people would not even contemplate missing a game.

However, to return to the matter in hand, much as I am buzzing ahead of the game on Saturday and would love to see us secure promotion, there is a small part of me which hopes we don’t actually make it. Not just on Saturday, but even via the play-offs.

It has nothing to do with what may or may not happen on the pitch because having followed Watford since the early 70’s, I know as well as anyone that anything can (and often does) happen at Vicarage Road. Indeed, one only need look at this season as proof of that and I have little doubt that our Italian owners have huge plans, god bless ‘em.

No, my concerns have everything to do with what might happen off the pitch. For the truth is, like many English football fans, I despise the premiership and everything it stands for.

The ‘top flight’ isn’t football to me. It’s little more than a media driven entertainment version of the game designed to exploit the very people without whom it wouldn’t even exist, those fans who actually attend games.

And if we do make it, that media will go to town on us because as the ‘little’ club, we’ll face a season of being patronised by people I have little or no respect for. The Lawrenson’s and Lineker’s, the Gray’s and the Durham’s… all of whom will regard us as little more than cannon fodder who have no right to be where we are because we’re not a ‘big’ club. And as a result, we as fans will be on the defensive. Not like we have thanks to ‘loangate’ this season because the whole Udinese B thing has been fun, but because we will have to justify ourselves week in and week out. Even the thought of that pisses me off.

Don’t get me wrong, if the stars align and we do make it, I’ll be as chuffed as anyone but that delight will be tinged with a little bit of regret. And pound to a pinch of poo, I won’t be the only one.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysFor those who didn’t know, Universal Pictures UK have come on board the Top Dog movie project and with their support, it looks increasingly likely that filming will commence in June ahead of a cinema release in February. Casting will commence shortly and full details of that will be posted on both Facebook and Twitter.

I may well have some more exciting news to pass on very soon relating to both books and another movie project. Exciting times!

Finally, I’m going to be staging a series of giveaways of books over the next few weeks. You’ll need to follow me on either Facebook or Twitter so if you want free books, get on it!  @dougiebrimson

How to bring your novel to life.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysOK, I own up. The title to this blog is slightly misleading because if you were expecting a writing lesson, you are going to be disappointed. In fact, to be perfectly honest anyone seeking a writing lesson from me is going to be disappointed because as I’ve written many times, I don’t actually know how I’m getting away with it so I am hardly qualified to advise anyone else!

No, the title to this blog refers to them actually taking on a three dimensional form in the actor sense. Because after what seems many years of what feels like post-Green Street herculean effort, it appears that one of my projects is finally making the leap from ‘almost there’ to ‘off and running’ with the announcement that Universal Pictures UK have signed as the distributors of my adaptation of Top Dog. Full details of that can be found here.

So, how did this happen? Well the truth is, like many of the events which form what can laughingly be called ‘my career’ it was down to moaning. And to a lesser extent, Twitter.

I won’t ramble on too much, but the short version is this. One day, as I was trawling Twitter in an effort to avoid actually writing, the name Leo Gregory popped up. Now Leo, as many of you will know, is the actor who played Bovver in Green Street and gave, quite simply, the stand out performance in the movie. He’s also a top bloke and so I dropped him a note and asked if he fancied taking a look at a project I thought he’d be perfect for.

Luckily, he agreed, loved it and so at the back end of last year, we met and chatted. Inevitably, talk turned to Green Street, the many imitators it spawned and the fact that in both our opinions, no movie thus far has actually failed to pull off the whole ‘hooligan’ ‘lads’ thing convincingly. This moaning led into discussions about my novels The Crew and Top Dog which in turn led to a meeting with the legendary producer that is Jonathan Sothcott  (which is a tale in itself). The rest as they say, is history.

Now, the point of all this is that like all writers, when I set out to create something, be it a book or a screenplay, it gets to a point where it takes on a life of its own. Up to now, I had always believed that there was only so much I could do after that point had been reached but this is clearly not the case at all.

Because as I have recently discovered, the key to success is moaning. And thankfully, it’s something that I’m not only exceedingly good at but which I also enjoy with a passion.

Happy days!

 

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

How I discovered the most unique eBook marketing tactic ever.

ebook, marketing, social media, kindle, facebook, twitter, brimson, trolls, money, amazon, itunes, booksMy previous blog regarding eBook marketing generated a quite astonishing response and in doing so, inspired me take a fresh look at my own performance in an effort to examine what has and hasn’t worked for me.

As I said in that blog (which can be found here) I am a firm believer in the notion that there is no magic formula for eBook success and that for the most part, it boils down to one simple thing: how much luck you can create for yourself. And if you need me to explain that to you, then I would suggest that marketing really isn’t your strong point.

For the most part, I’m quite happy that the majority of what I am doing is proving effective and am also confident that I’m meeting the right balance between marketing and writing given that fresh output is vital to maintain an authors platform. Something that is fundamental to long term success and, by extension, my income.

However,  as someone who is prone to thinking laterally, it also got me thinking about ways of selling books which might not have been tried before. And then it struck me. Potentially the greatest marketing idea ever.

You see like every author who writes for money, my focus has always been on how to reach potential readers and hopefully, encourage them to buy books. This after all, being the very point of eBook marketing.

Thus far, I have done this by exploiting my USP and utilising the tactic of target marketing with to be fair, a reasonable degree of success. But like all authors, like all businesses in fact, I have more than one USP. I actually have several.

So what I did was to write them all down and consider the ones I hadn’t used before and as soon as I did that, one in particular jumped out and punched me square in the face.

You see, I am hated. Seriously. This hate originates from the fact that when I began writing, I wrote about a subject and within a genre which was, to say the least, controversial. Not just to those on the outside, but to many people on the inside.

As a consequence, I received all kinds of abuse ranging from hand gestures at football matches to death threats on the telephone. Just as importantly, whilst after 16 years as a writer (and having seen off 99% of the people who jumped on my writing coat tails) that hatred has dissipated somewhat, there is still a huge amount of dislike for me and my books and this most often manifests itself, not surprisingly, on Facebook. Usually in the form of posts urging me not to write any more books because they are (quote) crap.

The key of course, is how to exploit that hate and the answer was fairly simple. Don’t look for people who want to buy my books, target my greatest and most vocal critics and offer them the opportunity to actually stop me writing. And so to kick start this process, I posted the following on Twitter and on areas of Facebook where I know they lurk:

I’ve had an epic idea. If everyone who hates my books buys just one, I can retire from writing which means there will be no more…. ever. That has to be worth 99p/$2 of anyone’s money yes?  So why not do your bit and buy one here!  

Time will tell how successful it will be. But it will certainly be fun finding out.

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, green street, elijah wood, leo gregory, charlie hunnam, essex boysIronically, given the above post, my sales seem to be increasing across the board. Billy’s Log and Top Dog in particular have shown steady growth whilst The Crew continues its 18 month run at number one on the free sports book download chart. Proof, if any were needed, that what I do continues to work.

Maybe I should write a book about my methods! Now that would be funny…

Finally, the picture on the left is the sales poster for the movie adaptation of Top Dog which will shortly go into pre-production hopefully ahead of filming in the summer. I really like it, but what do you think?

Authors need love too (and a bit of help sometimes).

readers, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, twitter, facebook, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew,

As a twitter obsessive (@dougiebrimson if you didn’t know) I see a lot of tweets relating to both writing and publishing many of which contain links to articles or blogs.

Generally these will fall into two categories. Either it will be a rehashed version of one of three articles (How to get published, how to get an agent or five/sex/ten ways to market your work) or it will be total and utter bollocks that’s been written by someone who clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

For obvious reasons, I tend to dismiss most of them out of hand or, if I am in a particularly grumpy mood, will comment accordingly. I know I shouldn’t, but not only does it make me feel better, it helps maintain my image as a grumpy and obnoxious bugger.

Every so often however, I read something which actually strikes a chord with me and out of a sense of fair play, after first cursing the author for writing something I wish I’d written, I’ll pass on the link in the hope that whoever reads it will actually learn something. On very rare occasions, so impressed will something leave me that I will steal the idea. Or rather, I will rewrite it to put my own slant on it, although not without asking permission first!

And so, with the very kind permission of author Barry Hutchinson whose website, as well as details of his excellent new book, The Book of Doom, can be found here, what follows is a plagiarised version of his original and most brilliant blog.

Now, as anyone who knows anything about me will know, I adore my readers. It is because of them/you that I am able to continue doing what I do which is why I am always so eager to hear from them/you. Indeed, I actively encourage people to contact me if ever they feel the need or have something they want to get off their chest.

This author/reader relationship is incredibly important for all kinds of reasons, one of which is that it helps to build what has become known as ‘a platform’. This being all but essential in these days of electronic books because it is a fundamental part of marketing. Or to put it another way, it sells books.

In the old days when I used to write books which came out on paper, this wasn’t something I generally became involved in as it all fell on the shoulders of the publishers. I wrote them, they pushed and promoted them, people brought them. That was how is basically worked. These days however, things are very different because it is all down to me and one thing I have learnt over the last few years is that key to the art of selling books is word of mouth. Indeed, as someone who receives little or no coverage in either the mainstream media or even the sports press, word of mouth is my best selling tool. But obviously, I can only do so much and whilst Twitter and Facebook are great, there is only so many times I can plug a book before people get bored of it. Therefore whilst I can give a new book a shove, I am dependent on help from my readers to get it really rolling.

So with that in mind, if you’re one such individual and actually like my work, what follows are four things you can do to help if you fancy giving me a hand.

1.  Buy my Books. This is fairly obvious but you will be amazed how many people have read a couple of my books and don’t actually know that I’ve written 15 in total. I’m not insisting that you buy them all of course (although that would be nice) but if you’re missing any, a brief look at one of the on-line stores or even my website may well turn up something that you’ll enjoy.Just as importantly, by buying books you help me eat which means I can carry on producing more titles as opposed to lying on the sofa dying of malnutrition. It’s a win-win!

2.  Review! In these days of eBooks and eCommerce, reviews are the engine which drives word of mouth. So if you’ve read a book and like it, then please take the time to leave a review on either Amazon or iTunes. If you blog, then why not blog about the book? I’ll even provide an interview if you like. All you need do is ask.It doesn’t have to be a 5* review, just an honest review.

And if you didn’t like it, then you have every right to say so. I won’t mind. Honest. Well, I might mind a bit…

3.  Talk! To family, mates, people in the street. I don’t care. Share your enthusiasm and spread the love. It all helps!

4.  Tweet! Social media is a brilliant way of spreading the word about books but it’s especially useful if you include links because that way you are actively driving people in my direction.

The same thing applies to Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and all the others. It’s all about making people aware and raising the profile. Well ok, my profile.

That’s it really. It’s not too much to ask is it? I mean, I’m doing my bit by churning them out, the least you can do is give me a hand! 😀

.

readers, film, ebooks, itunes, amazon, blog, publishing, author, writing, top dog, brimson, screenwriting, the crew, Talking of new books, work on the third title in the Billy Evans series is progressing well and I’m hopeful that it will be out by the summer. It’s a cracking plot which picks up on his story in modern day Britain, ten years on from the events at the end of Top Dog. I’ll release more details, including the title, nearer publication day.

Work is also progressing nicely on the movie adaptation of Top Dog, the poster of which can be seen to the left. This is actually the artwork being shown to investors and not the actual movie poster but it is incredibly effective I think.

Leo Gregory might look very different from how Billy looks in my head, but I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to be just awesome in the role!

Finally, lots of people have been asking me about the movie adaptation of Wings of a Sparrow. All I can tell you at the moment is that I’ve written a script which is receiving a lot of positive feedback and we’ve got it in front of various production companies.

At the moment, we can do no more. Although if more people knew about the book, it would certainly help! Which takes me back to my original point… 😉

Everything you wanted to know about being the ex football hooligan author Dougie Brimson (but were afraid to ask)

football, soccer, books, brimson. hooligans, violence, coin thrower, matt haig, manchester city, manchester united, violence, racism, amazon, itunes, ibooks, writer, author, self-publishing

As I sit here, pondering my navel and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was a blog I read today entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because only this morning I received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at Tesco’s an hour or so ago (I’d had an urge for pie. Seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As an author who is intent on spewing out ebooks on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a contented ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being a digital author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being a digital author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   Despite my apparent success, I am firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have been. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my insecurities tend to be more about my other efforts at writing than about my books. Screenplays are terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn an award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another première would be nice though as I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, occasionally, when you get to the end, you’re glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths. On which note, thanks to everyone who has downloaded my new book Wings of a Sparrow. Feedback and reviews have thus far been brilliant which makes all the effort and late nights worthwhile.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceWork is progressing on getting more media exposure although many publications are reluctant to give reviews to eBooks and of course, as many of you know, I am banned from certain magazines and TV shows on account of my criticism of them in the past. The only thing I can ever see changing that would be if a book becoming too popular to ignore and since Wings of a Sparrow is a hooligan free zone, it provides possibly the best opportunity for that to happen so could I once again be cheeky and ask you all to keep spreading the word because the more people who know about it –and buy it- the better.

One other thing which would help is of course, the film version and I am still working hard to make that happen. The stumbling block at the moment is the financing although we are making progress with that so fingers crossed. I’m also in tentative talks about a new movie based on my previous novel, Top Dog which would be quite awesome!

And finally, on the subject of Top Dog, work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy is progressing nicely. It’s much darker and more violent than the first two books but the plot line is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with. I’m aiming for a publication date in the spring and will release more details closer to that point.

Laters…

I don’t have one internet troll, I have loads! And they picked on the wrong person!

Dear internet troll, you are fucked.
Dear internet troll, you are fucked.

I have recently become fascinated by the issue of trolls. Not the Peter Beardsley kind or the big hairy creatures featured in Lord of the Rings, but the people who haunt the internet and all too often (but not often enough) end up in court for saying things they really shouldn’t say.

However, I have a confession to make. I am also a troll. Or at least I am if you use the definition of a troll as being someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Because I’ve been doing exactly that.

But my target hasn’t been some poor kid, sensitive woman or celebrity sort, oh no. My target has been people who are clearly trolls themselves. And boy, do they get the arsehole when you give them a taste of their own medicine.

I won’t go into the reasons how I became involved in all this but suffice to say, I became a ‘victim’ a few weeks ago shortly after I posted something on a forum relating to writing and in particular the issue of self published authors. Naively, I assumed that as an author who has enjoyed a bit of success, some experience might be welcomed. Oh no.

Within a few hours I’d had everything from my ‘claim’ to have been at #1 on the Amazon sports charts for ever with The Crew to my role on Green Street dissected and dismissed. Not just as irrelevant, but by one individual as downright lies. Yes, that’s right, I made it all up. It’s all a dream.

And this continued, for days.

Now I’ve had to put up with some crap in my time from lousy reviews to death threats from extremist nutters and so a few idiots hiding behind ‘tags’ on a message board don’t bother me at all. I actually found it all quite amusing and so being me, I had a dig or to back.

This of course wound them up even more not least because they quickly realised that as someone who was already established, didn’t care, took everything with a pinch of salt and wasn’t adverse to saying what I thought, they were powerless.

Then, out of the blue, I began to receive emails from people talking about these people who were trying to have a dig at me. And the more I read, the more it became clear that these people weren’t just acting like dicks, they were  up to no good.

In short, they are a small group of people who using numerous fake identities and hiding behind some spurious ideal of ‘policing’ the quality of self published books, get their kicks from ripping apart the confidence of amateur and particularly first-time authors.  They do this by various means including posting bogus and extremely critical 1 star reviews of their books on websites such as Amazon. These being backed up by other members of the clique as well of course, by themselves using their numerous fake ID’s.

And some of these reviews are vicious, personal even. The very definition of trolling.

The more I dug into what they were and are up to, the more uncomfortable reading it became and so I made an allegation that there was some kind of review mafia operating on Amazon.

*Boom*

They were at me like a pack of hounds with more attacks. I was anti-woman, anti-American, sexist, racist, a bigot, etc, etc, but when this didn’t work they began to employ diversionary tactics. Every time a legitimate discussion would begin or a sensible question asked, it would be hijacked by debates about biscuits, sea monkeys… anything. A typical bullying tactic.

So from that point on, with the help of a few other people who they’ve also had a go at, I began digging into the background to some of these people and what I uncovered staggered me.

In a sense it’s no different from the hooligan world. I’m often asked about the type of people who become involved in football violence and people are always shocked to discover that very few are the knuckle dragging right-wingers they expect them to be. They are instead, relatively normal members of society who simply get off on what goes on at games.

The same thing applies to the reviewing trolls. Amongst the people I’ve traced are kindergarten teachers, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, you name it. Some are even authors themselves and indeed, are acting in the very manner they are so quick to condemn in others.

But what they all are, are people who you would normally regard as respectable. And here they are for all to see acting in a way which is as far from respectable as it’s possible to get. That is quite scary.

Now I don’t like bullies and I’m certainly not fazed by them. I’m also of the belief that the best way to deal with a bully is to not simply stand up to them, but to name and shame them. This time is no different and in the fullness of time, these people will be exposed.

I already have the real names of some as well as the list of identities they use on various forums but I will only make that public once I am absolutely certain that the evidence I put forward is indisputable.

Not that it matters of course. After all, as I tell everyone who wants to write, if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because sooner or later someone somewhere is going to rip you to shreds and that is often extremely difficult to handle especially when it is based on things which are fundamentally wrong.

The trolls who have infected Amazon and Goodreads will experience how that feels very soon and I hope they’re ready for it.

Then again, I don’t really care if they’re not because it’s coming anyway.

*

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

I never get bored of saying this, truly, I don’t. A huge thanks to everyone who is keeping The Crew at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes sports charts. We’re now into out 9th month at the top of the tree which however you look at it, is quite something.

Top Dog is also sitting pretty in the top 3 which proves what I said years ago, that if you give people what they want as opposed to what you hope they might like, they’ll buy it.

My next book, Wings of a Sparrow, is almost finished and then, thanks to the success of The Crew and Top Dog, I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

Trust me, it’s going to be the best one yet!